Christmas doesn’t need to be a time of weight gain (for weight read FAT), feeling lethargic, guilty and rotten. It also doesn’t need to leave you feeling fatter, slower and more tired in January.
With a little bit of planning and the right attitude you can make this year fun, enjoy the festivities AND greet the New Year without an extra stone on top!
1. Don’t give up!
Firstly yes you’re going to eat chocolate, you’re going to overindulge, you’re probably going to drink alcohol. But one evening of overindulgence doesn’t mean that you should throw all your good intentions out of the window. One night isn’t going to hurt, it is what you do most of the time, that really makes a difference to your nutritional intake (and how you feel!)
So if you’ve a big staff night out – and you may not have a great deal of control over the menu options – schedule a high intensity training session for that morning to counteract the extra calories you’ll be putting into your body. If you take part in an exercise that promotes an afterburn, even better, because you’ll continue to burn calories long after you’ve finished your workout.
2. Plan your meals
If you know you’re going to have double helpings of roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings on Christmas Day then make sure you get a balanced (and filling) breakfast inside you. Don’t think that skipping breakfast on Christmas Day (or Boxing day or any day you know you’ll probably have a big meal) will help – it won’t! Instead of starting your metabolism by breaking your fast in the morning, you’ll be putting your body into starvation mode and holding onto all your fat instead of beginning to burn it. A balanced meal consists of protein, fat and carbohydrates, so something like porridge, with milk and sprinkled with nuts would work, add a spoonful of protein powder and you won’t be reaching for the biscuits mid-morning!
Just because you’re off work doesn’t mean you’re off everything else! Take an afternoon stroll before it gets dark, have a snowball fight with the family (if it’s a white Christmas) get the Wii out and challenge your friends to a Zumba off, or a boxing match. There are loads of things you can do that will raise your heart rate and keep the fun going. Just 15 minutes every day of moderate to intense exercise (this means sweating, getting slightly out of breath and getting the heart going) will make a difference and people will be asking you how you managed it when you go back in January.
4. Stay hydrated
And no I don’t mean reach for another gin and tonic! Most of us don’t drink the right amount of water. Inadequate hydration can cause constipation and a whole host of other issues with bodily functions. We are nearly 75% water so we need to keep that level topped up to make everything work properly. Alcohol also dehydrates you so try drinking a glass of water in between each glass of booze to stay hydrated (and this should ease the hangover the next day too!). If you feel thirsty then you’re already dehydrated. We lose approximately 1litre of water each night – through breathing and sweating – so drinking a large glass of water first thing in the morning is an excellent strategy. We also lose water during exercise; if you were to weigh yourself then workout, and weigh yourself again you would weigh less – the drop is the amount of water you’ve lost. 1 litre of water weighs 1kg, so if you dropped 1kg during your workout you’ll need to drink 1 litre of water to replenish the stores. BUT I’m not saying do this every time you train, just make sure you keep sipping water throughout any workout (even swimming) and pay close attention to what your body is telling you. So serve up your Turkey with a big jug of water on the table and keep topping yourself up.
5. Attitude, attitude attitude
How many times have you heard me quote Henry Ford – “whether you think you can or you think you can’t you’re right” In exercise and trying to stay fit and healthy the quote always fits nicely. If you tell yourself you can’t fit a workout in you won’t be able to, if you tell yourself you can’t resist that second chocolate bar you probably won’t. BUT if you say to yourself I can go for a walk today, I WILL do some exercise today, I can stop at one chocolate bar – then your brain will help you to make this happen. Look back over some of your achievements in life – did you achieve them in spite of you thinking you couldn’t? Or did you say to yourself ‘I can do this, I will do this’ and this helped you to get there?
So commit to trying some or all of these strategies to get through Christmas without a massive weight gain and you will feel a whole lot better in 2014!
If you do decide to just jack in all the good intentions and deal with it next year then our 2014 Weightloss Challenge begins on 20th January 2014 at the Grassmoor Community Centre, it is open to everyone whether your goal is to lose fat or just to maintain and is only £40 for 12 weeks. If you would like to know more then email me firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07794 016 966.